By: Laurie Valentine
A Christian estate plan is one that has been developed by prayerfully determining how God wants you to provide for your family and other “dependents” at your death and how your finances will be managed and decisions will be made for you if, at some point in the future, you are no longer able to do that for yourself because of a stroke, dementia or accident.
To accomplish God’s plan for who is to receive what you own when you die you need a will designating how your probate estate assets (individually-owned assets and amounts payable to your estate or executor at your death) will pass at your death.
The distribution plan in your will should be coordinated with life insurance and retirement plan beneficiary designations.
And, you must also look at how your assets are titled as assets titled as joint tenants with rights of survivorship do not pass under your will; they pass to the surviving joint owner.
God’s plan for asset management and decision-making in the event you become incapacitated can be accomplished by making a durable power of attorney. Using a durable power of attorney allows you to empower someone of your choosing to make decisions for you and manage your finances if you become incapacitated.
To assure the appropriate person(s) have authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated a healthcare surrogate designation should also be considered. And, by making a living will directive you can put in writing your wishes regarding the continuation of life-prolonging medical procedures in the event of a terminal condition diagnosis.
Be a good steward of all with which God has blessed you by taking time to do Christian estate planning.
Laurie Valentine is COO and Trust Counsel for the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; (502) 489-3533 or 1-866-489-3533 (Toll-free, Kentucky Only); KYBaptistFoundation.org
The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.